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Volume 502: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether a person with a complaint about a defective passport is entitled to speak to a manager at a local passport office. (305200)

We are always concerned to hear of any problem that our customers have and we look to provide a resolution as quickly as possible.

Customers who wish to lodge a complaint about any aspect of the services that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) provides may do so via telephone, e-mail, letter, fax or in person at one of the seven regional passport offices. All IPS customer facing staff are fully trained in handling complaints, however, if unable to do so or if a customer specifically asks to see a manager, the public counter manager will make themselves available.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place to compensate those whose passport applications have been subject to (a) delays and (b) errors in processing. (305236)

In accordance with current Treasury and Cabinet Office guidance, which indicates that they do not consider it is appropriate to recompense for anything other than quantifiable loss and that payments for distress and inconvenience should only be made in exceptional circumstances. It is the Identity and Passport Service’s (IPS) policy to reimburse the reasonable and actual out of pocket expenses incurred by customers as a direct consequence of operational errors or omissions by its staff by means of an ex-gratia payment. It is not our normal policy to pay compensation for distress or inconvenience arising from these errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports issued in each of the last three years were replaced after being reported as damaged. (305239)

The recording of statistical data relating to faulty chips in passports began in January 2007 and, as at 31 October 2009, the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has recorded a total of 389 passports returned by customers with suspected faulty chips. Records show that 14 of these were found not to be faulty and five chips had been damaged after dispatch by persons unknown.